Our feet are complex structures comprising numerous bones, joints, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. As the primary structure necessary for push-off during normal gait, the hallux, or big toe, takes the brunt of our daily activities. This means that it is the last part of the foot to leave the ground with each step. Big toe pain can sometimes extend from deep inside the joint; at other times it is localized to the nail. Whatever the cause, big toe pain makes it difficult for many people to remain active.
The cause of big toe pain is often an underlying condition, such as gout, or a fracture resulting from trauma. Other times the culprit may be something less obvious, such as an underlying structural deformity, disease, or vascular issue. Regardless of its origin, hallux pain can become extremely bothersome for those who need to walk or stand for long periods. Delays in treatment can sometimes lead to morbidity, possibly requiring amputation.